the c & b diaspora

Television’s Little Gems: Freaks and Geeks

Posted on: October 15, 2008

I don’t remember watching much of this show when it was actually airing on television a few years ago, quite possibly because it had been scheduled in what is known as the ‘Friday Night Death Slot’ on a local network and I was reaching that teen period in my life where doing stupid things involving booze became more important. It seemed that the rest of the world was in sync with my behaviour too, the show was cancelled in the United States because of poor ratings, even though only twelve of the eighteen produced episodes had been aired.

Just looking at the above image, I’m sure you can tell who some, if not all the cast members are. Quite possibly because most of the have gone on to become very successful in their own right. However, that is not to say that they didn’t display their talents in this show. The show’s producer Judd Apatow (who is the MAN) seemed to have a very good eye for young talent, and continues to work with many of the cast members on other projects to this day.

The show was set in the early 1980s, before the decade became a giant mess of horrible clothes, synth-pop and cultural icons that are now referenced far too often. This was a good choice, any earlier, and the show would have been too close to the territory of Richard Linklater’s cult stoner film, Dazed and Confused (1993). Musically a lot of the characters are deeply rooted in the sounds of the 70s, either getting high and listening to progressive rock, or getting drunk and abusing fans of disco oriented music. In one episode, Jason Segel’s character Nick, a drummer, experiences a heavy loss: the passing of one John Henry Bonham.

By far the most astonishing thing Freaks and Geeks achieved was the creation of such memorable characters. It is a remarkable achievement to have such impressive performances from such a young cast. Even the old people are awesome.  (I just made an entertaining personal connection, the surname of the lead character’s family is Weir.) One character (who could have been inspired by a friend of mine through some kind of chronal displacement… Try and guess who.) in particular stands out; Bill Haverchuck. Bill is a complex guy, who is filled with pearls of wisdom, such as this:

Remember that time in civics when I had to fart, and it came out, well, a poop? And I had to flush my undies down the toilet? Do you think I wanted to tell you that?

and these:

Here’s to you, Bill. May you live forever.

My brain is fried from too much television. (and caffeine)


2 Responses to "Television’s Little Gems: Freaks and Geeks"

ok just watched Episode 17 an didnt know ben stiller was in it 😀 haha

Yeah man its full of little cameos like that. A very young Shia LeBeouf plays some mascot kid early on.

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October 2008
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